Role and company:
Managing Director of Agribarn.com
Company turnover (and most recent ebitda/most relevant profitability metric):
We’re a brand new company founded in July of this year and anticipate that our turnover will grow to £1m in the next 12 months.
Agribarn.com currently employs a team of three that is due to triple in the first quarter of 2014.
Growth forecast for the next three years:
We’re expecting significant growth year on year, especially as we expand the business into Europe, America and beyond.
In under 50 words, what makes your business distinctive in its marketplace:
Agribarn.com is a one-stop shop for outdoor lifestyle. We’re the only online store that brings together a comprehensive range of products for farm, equestrian, pet care, outdoor sports and clothing all under the one roof.
What’s the big vision for your business?
To become the number one outdoor retailer online, selling products that we really love and enjoy using. We’d also like to be recognised for our honest customer service and our sustainable approach to building a global business.
Current level of international business, and future aspirations:
Already we are gaining organic traction in international markets; with sales on a weekly basis stretching from Dublin to Edinburgh to Faro and even Pittsburgh, USA. From next year we plan to direct a significant marketing budget towards optimising the European market and plan to explore opportunities in the USA and beyond for the following years.
Biggest career setback and what you learned from it:
My first business was in vending machines. Needless to say, despite every will in the world, it never quite made the fortune I had hoped it might have and I decided to step aside. What I learned really is that if you’ve never failed, you’ve never tried anything new.
What makes you mad in business today?
The ‘not knowing’ what’s really happening with our economy, the lack of available funds to support new business, the continued doom and gloom associated with businesses in the UK continuing to go under – but if you lie down, you’ll never get anywhere.
What will be the biggest change in your market in the next three years?
My estimation is that the next three years will tell an important tale in terms of who survives in the online market place. The e-commerce sector is building momentum more than ever before and the next few years will test everyone that has built their business up online.
We are coming to the end of the days of ‘anyone can flog it cheap online’, consumers are now expecting high street quality, service, experience and delivery online. Some will rise, some will fall but it is up to us as online small business leaders to ensure that we are keeping our ears to the ground and understanding what it is our customers are asking for.
Can businesses in your sector/industry access the finance they need to grow? If not, what can be done to improve things?
Well, although banks aren’t lending, there are other avenues such as grants from enterprise agencies and angel investors who are keen to get involved in innovative businesses.
How would others describe your leadership style?
I’m a fairly creative minded character and as a result enjoy brain storming with others, fuelling concepts with the input of everyone. I don’t believe in mistakes and like to see people taking initiative and trying out new ideas. However, on the base of it all I always know what I want to achieve and believe in doing whatever it takes to achieve results. I like people to feel really involved in the business and this encourages them to often go beyond the call of duty to help us succeed – just because they enjoy doing it so much.
Your biggest personal extravagance?
My Audi A5 – the love of my life!
You’ve got two minutes with the prime minister. Tell him how best to set the UK’s independent, entrepreneurial businesses free to prosper:
Give us a chance, Dave! Rates, VAT and tax can be major burdens for new businesses in the UK: wouldn’t it be really great if the government would give us some proper relief for a couple of years? It would mean us actually being able to focus on adding genuine value to the economy by building our businesses, rather than worrying about the strain of overheads.
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